Career

How to Quit Your Job & Leave on a Positive Note

“I’m quitting” is an unnerving sentence to utter, no matter the circumstances. A couple weeks ago, I received some exciting news. I had no idea where to start, so the nerd in me turned to Google to better prepare myself. 

My workplace has become like my second family and as much as I know that change will be good for me and my career, it is always hard to leave co-workers behind. The end is near for my current role, and I am fairly confident I have put everything in place for a smooth transition. I have outlined the steps that I took, from giving my notice, to getting ready to leave to my final departure. 

Arrange a Meeting
Schedule a meeting to talk to your superior. Put together a letter of resignation, and discuss your timeline with your employer or your direct supervisor. Take the meeting as an opportunity to speak positively about the opportunity to work for the company and how thankful you are for the learning experience.  Sometimes a face-to-face is not possible, so the second best is arranging for a phone call. 

Ask About Messaging
When you are exiting a position, it is important that you talk to your employer about the messaging. Wait until you have the go ahead from management on the exit strategy, and only let the co-workers that you are friends first with know your plans to leave. Once you know exactly when to break the news and who to tell, then you can start letting people know. 

Give as Much Notice as You Can
My start date allowed me to give more than two weeks notice. The recruiter I was working with wanted to move the start date sooner, although I appreciated his offer, I really wanted to make sure I could do my best to finish as many projects as I could before leaving. I have heard stories of people giving more notice and their employer letting them go early, so I know sometimes it can be concerning to give more than enough notice. It really depends on the situation and your relationship with your workplace. At the very least, try to give a full two weeks notice. 

Get Ahead & Lay the Groundwork
Honour your commitments, use your two weeks to really grab hold of your workload. Talk to your superior and find out which items they feel are high priority. The worst thing you can do is to get caught up in leaving and slack off. Plan for your projects, offer to train a replacement and tie up any loose ends. You may be the only one that truly knows your calendar, so depending on your role you may need to pass on some of your outstanding items to a co-worker. Don’t leave a mess for the person who is fulfilling your role to clean up. You want to impress your successor and maintain a positive reputation. 

Create Space
The moment I knew when my last day was I started to get stressed out. I wanted to let my contacts in on the secret, if they said they would have to get back to me in a couple weeks time, I wanted to tell them that I probably wouldn’t be on the receiving end. This is when conscious uncoupling comes into play, I cancelled all the networking events I was supposed to attend on behalf of the company, and tried to distance myself from “PR” opportunities and let my transition be my main focus. 

Think About a Parting Gift
This is the one thing I struggled with the most, I found some interesting information about gift giving in the workplace. On a career forum I found this quote:

Etiquette says that gifts in a workplace should flow downward, not upward – meaning that gifts from bosses to employees are fine, but employees shouldn’t give gifts to those above them. This rule stems from the power dynamics in the boss/employee relationship, because otherwise people can feel obligated to purchase gifts when they don’t want to or can’t afford to – and managers should never benefit from the power dynamic in that way.

I have never heard of this etiquette before and is logical. I usually give my superiors and peers gifts for holidays or special occasions. They are never very extravagant, but something thoughtful. I think this could be a good rule of thumb for a large organization, or perhaps dependent on your workplace dynamic. Personally, a nice card, grabbing doughnuts and coffees on your last day or a box of chocolates can’t hurt. A farewell gift that everyone can share is a nice gesture.

Hopefully this is a helpful guide for when it comes time for you to resign. I would love to hear your quitting stories and quitting experiences. What you did wrong and what you did right. Let me know in the comments section.

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